Kraft Canada Is Giving Airtime It Already Bought to Small Businesses

Rethink brings locals to the fore

Small Canadian businesses such as Jenna Rae Cakes, the Birds & the Beets, Robyn's Cookies and Flour & Flower don't normally advertise in prime slots across multiple media.

Of course, times are far from normal. And several Kraft Heinz Canada brands hardly need to advertise these days, as bottles of Kraft Peanut Butter and Heinz ketchup, among others, are flying off shelves. However, such brands locked in their media buys long before the emergence of Covid-19, and now they've decided to donate that time to assist struggling Canadian businesses.

"We reached out via social asking for submissions and received a tremendous response," says Mike Dubrick, creative director at Rethink, lead agency for several of the company's brands in Canada. "We're continuing to put out the request, with the goal of helping as many small businesses as possible. They have a blank slate in terms of messaging. Our only stipulation was the length of the video, so that it fits the media buy."

There's no charge for participation. Rethink assists as needed with editorial and postproduction services. TV spots drop this week following recent geo-targeted social messages and pre-roll ads with a decidedly homemade vibe, such as these:

"While many of these small bakeries and shops remain open for pickup and delivery, they simply don't have the media buying power that major brands do," Dubrick says. "And with people rightly staying home, the foot traffic they rely on is gone. Getting their message out is crucial."

Kraft's efforts "certainly won't hurt," says Matthew Senecal-Junkeer, owner of the Birds & the Beets, a Vancouver cafe where sales have nose-dived 85 percent. "It's hard to quantify how much it will help us specifically, but I think it will certainly help to bring more awareness to the challenges facing all small businesses, particularly restaurants in this period."

Dubrick declined to say how many slots have been donated or place a monetary value on the ads.

Similar big-business efforts to help small players include Google's move last month to offer $340 million in Google Ads credits as part of a broader relief package. Yelp provided $25 million in free ads and waived fees across its platform. Separately, it also partnered with Intuit Quickbooks and GoFundMe to raise funds for SMBs. To bolster that program, QuickBooks pulled its TV commercials and ran special appeals asking viewers to donate. Meanwhile, Facebook launched a $100 million grant program to aid independent businesses worldwide.


Title: Stick Together for Small Business
Client: Kraft Heinz Canada
Head of Brand Build Communications & Innovation: Nina Patel
Senior Brand Manager: Daniel Gotlib
Brand Manager: Jacqueline Chao
Agency: Rethink
CCO: Aaron Starkman
Creative Director: Mike Dubrick
Art Director: Nick Noh
Writers:Jordan Darnbrough, Karine Doucet
Strategists:Sean McDonald, Hannah Newport
Producers: Anna Tricinci, Todd Harrison
Production Coordinator: Spencer Houghton
Editor (In house): Tyler Erdelac
Group Account Director: Amy Greenspoon
Account Manager: Allie Kennedy
Account Manager: Catherine Blouin-Mainville
Audio House: Vapor Music
Audio Director: Ted Rosnick
Audio Engineer: Art Mullin

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